I typically golf until snow covers the ground. That could be late October, but more typically in recent years it has been about now. Since I don’t play hockey that means the trunk of my poor taken for granted Focus looks like a pro shop on wheels until the middle of November.
I was with calm in my heart that I recognize golf season is nearing the end. My home course, Eagles Nest, closed yesterday, and I played my last round there (25 holes to be exact) on a glorious Friday with the sun high in the sky. You might have thought it was mid-October had the calendar not assured me it was a month later.
Either way, every hardcore golfer know the longing for warmer months that occurs when they decide the golf gear has to go away, put in basements or garages until the winter trip to Mexico, Florida or Myrtle.
Today is was drizzly in Toronto, but I ventured out with one of those big Costco bag — the type that allows you to carry five pounds of nutmeg, a toaster, and four television box sets all in the same sack — to clean out my trunk. I popped it open and found:
- Four dozen ProV1s of assorted variations. Some were new (including three sleeves from the GJAC summer tournament), and some were used ProV1s found in my travels. That’s not to say they were all Titleist product. Callaway and TaylorMade were in there too. Some had been pulled out of fescue, some were pulled out of mud. Few were clean.
- One shoe box full of assorted balls that weren’t ProV1s.
- One half bottle of Gatorade which may well have been there since July
- Five golf clubs. This was interesting since two of them — a Hogan sand wedge and a Wilson sand wedge — aren’t mine. I know who owns the Wilson one (and he lives a couple of provinces to the east), but have no idea where the Hogan wedge came from. Strange. There was also a brand new 56 degree Vokey, part of my stockpile for the ridiculous groove rule change.
- Two putters. One was TaylorMade’s Ghost. I tried it and never fell in love with it (though I still use a TaylorMade putter, just not that one). The other was my Scotty Cameron, though I don’t recall using it either.
- Five hats, including headwear from Cypress Point, Tobiano, Sagebrush and Pine Valley. Strange assortment. The Pine Valley hat has an odd orange stain on it. Not good.
- One compression board. This was a prize from the GJAC tournament and I tried it several times. Kinda cool if you get a chance.
- One cut down graphite shaft used in drills to keep me from coming too far inside.
- Five pairs of shoes — two Footjoy Icons, one Footjoy MyJoys from last year and two pairs of Adidas 360s. I recognize today that I have a golf shoe problem — I have more footwear for golfing than my wife has shoes in her closest. Something is definitely off there.
- Various waterproof clothing from Footjoy, Adidas, etc.
- One sock, which looks like it might have been there a while. Not pleasant. Not sure where the other sock is.
When I was done I felt some regret. I might play once this week — it looks like it could snow by Thursday — so I left a dozen Titleists in the trunk along with a pair of 360 shoes and slammed it shut. I’m probably being optimistic. Either way, Osprey Valley is still open — it’ll keep taking green fees until the snow flies.
Looking at my handicap on Golf Canada’s network, it says I played 58 games. I know that is on the low side. It doesn’t include 10 rounds in the UK in April, and I didn’t start inputting my rounds until the end of May. On the positive side, my handicap dropped dramatically over the year as I finally — after fours years of fighting it — got rid of the draw that ended up, more often than not, hooking into oblivion. And I really started to enjoy playing, which is why I wish Fall would continue for another couple of weeks.
I played the most at Tarandowah, down by Avon, Ont. which continues to delight me and make me smile with its $40 green fee. I also played a lot at Eagles Nest in Maple, and the book I wrote on the course and its construction arrived from overseas the other day. It looks grand, and the course I wrote about continues to test every element of my game.
I also consider myself exceptionally lucky — I played another five courses in the world Top 100 (Royal Porthcawl, Royal Birkdale, Winged Foot, Fishers Island, Quaker Ridge), had a nice round at St. George’s in the spring, and Hamilton in the fall. I saw some Canadian courses for the first time (Doug Carrick’s Predator Ridge course stood out, as did Priddis Greens in Alberta), and walked around Cabot Links, which left my pondering how good it could be.
I’ve still got plenty of courses to write up — Lambton, The Lakes in Cape Breton, Summit — in coming weeks, and I’ll review my year in some greater detail.
In the meantime, I sit looking out my window on a sunny Monday morning, hoping that golf season will continue — if only for a few more days.